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Electrode-Impregnable and Cross-Linkable Poly(ethylene oxide)–Poly(propylene oxide)–Poly(ethylene oxide) Triblock Polymer Electrolytes with High Ionic Conductivity and a Large Voltage Window for Flexible Solid-State Supercapacitors

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posted on 11.09.2017, 00:00 by Jae Hee Han, Jang Yong Lee, Dong Hack Suh, Young Taik Hong, Tae-Ho Kim
We present cross-linkable precursor-type gel polymer electrolytes (GPEs) that have large ionic liquid uptake capability, can easily penetrate electrodes, have high ion conductivity, and are mechanically strong as high-performance, flexible all-solid-state supercapacitors (SC). Our polymer precursors feature a hydrophilic–hydrophobic poly­(ethylene oxide)–poly­(propylene oxide)–poly­(ethylene oxide) (PEO-PPO-PEO) triblock main-chain structure and trifunctional silane end groups that can be multi-cross-linked with each other through a sol–gel process. The cross-linked solid-state electrolyte film with moderate IL content (200 wt %) shows a well-balanced combination of excellent ionic conductivity (5.0 × 10–3 S cm–1) and good mechanical stability (maximum strain = 194%). Moreover, our polymer electrolytes have various advantages including high thermal stability (decomposition temperature > 330 °C) and the capability to impregnate electrodes to form an excellent electrode–electrolyte interface due to the very low viscosity of the precursors. By assembling our GPE-impregnated electrodes and solid-state GPE film, we demonstrate an all-solid-state SC that can operate at 3 V and provides an improved specific capacitance (112.3 F g–1 at 0.1 A g–1), better rate capability (64% capacity retention until 20 A g–1), and excellent cycle stability (95% capacitance decay over 10 000 charge/discharge cycles) compared with those of a reference SC using a conventional PEO electrolyte. Finally, flexible SCs with a high energy density (22.6 W h kg–1 at 1 A g–1) and an excellent flexibility (>93% capacitance retention after 5000 bending cycles) can successfully be obtained.